Can the upcoming Chevrolet Sail take on the Volkswagen Polo?

Chevrolet unveiled the Sail hatchback at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo. But will Chevrolet’s U-Va replacement be able to take on the popular Volkswagen Polo? We find out!

sail vs polo1

The Sail was originally designed and developed by GM and its Chinese partner, SAIC for the China market. The Sail will be customized and sold in India under the Chevrolet brand and will likely replace the present Aveo.

Driving and handling

The Sail will likely be powered by a 1.2 litre petrol engine similar to the one that powers the Chevrolet Beat. The diesel version of the Sail hatchback may get GM’s version of Fiat’s 1.3-litre Multijet engine that powers the Fiat Punto, Maruti Suzuki Swift and the Tata Vista.

The Polo is offered in a 1.2-litre petrol that puts out 74 bhp of power and a 1.2-litre diesel engine that puts out 74 bhp of power. For enthusiasts, Volkswagen also offers a powerful 1.6-litre petrol version that puts out 103.5 bhp of power. The Polo 1.6 is the most refined of the lot while the 1.2 engines delivers adequate power for both city and highway drives.

However, since the 1.2-litre engine has only three cylinders, there will likely be audible engine noise when the car is pushed. This may be a little annoying especially during long drives. Whether the Sail U-VA can beat the Polo in terms of performance depends on the power and torque configuration of its engine variants.

The Polo is a good handler and with its precise steering and smooth gearbox, driving this European hatch back is a breeze. We have to wait for a road test of Sail U-VA to know if it is a better handler than the Polo.

Space and comfort

The Sail sold in China, measures 3,947 x 1,690 x 1,503 mm (length x width x height) and has a wheelbase of 2,465 mm. The Polo, on the other hand measures 3,970 x 1,682 x 1,453 mm and a wheelbase of 2,456 mm. Clearly, the Polo is longer but the Sail U-VA is wider and taller than the Polo. Hence, the Sail U-VA may offer slightly better headroom and shoulder room when compared to the German hatchback. With regard to boot space, the Sail U-VA offers 248 litres, which is less than the Polo’s 280 litres.

The Polo has comfortable seats at the front and rear which offer great under thigh support and good lateral support. The rear seat has limited leg room and the transmission tunnel further eats up leg space, especially for the middle passenger.

The large dimensions of the Sail suggest that its spacious interiors could become the car’s unique selling proposition. The interiors of the Sail promise to be spacious and can comfortably seat five adults. The fuel tank is positioned in the middle of the car and hence, it frees more space inside. Expect a lot of small cubby holes and storage spaces as well. We feel, the Sail may offer slightly more space and comfort than the Polo.

Looks

The Volkswagen Polo is a very elegant looking and has a typical German feel to it. The Polo has the typical Volkswagen family grille with horizontal slats. The sharp looking headlamps give the Polo, a bold road presence. The side profile has simple lines while at the rear, the tail lamp cluster lacks clear lens treatment and looks a bit retro in style. The fit and finish levels are commendable.

The Sail comes with the Chevrolet family bowtie grille at the front as seen in the Chevrolet Beat and the Cruze sedan. The side profile highlights the long wheelbase of the Sail and a rising shoulder line. The Sail’s rear is simplistic with high mounted tail lamps. At some angles, the Sail resembles the Ford Figo and even the Fiat Punto.

Though looks are subjective, we feel that the Polo, with its simple design language looks sharp and may appeal to more buyers than the Sail.

Price mileage and overall VFM

The Polo is priced in the range of Rs. 4.57 lakh – 6.38 lakh for the petrol version and Rs. 5.59 lakh – 7.06 lakh for the diesel version. The Sail hatchback is expected to be priced starting from a little below Rs. 4 lakh and may go up to Rs. 6 lakh for the top-end variant. Price wise, the Sail is expected to have an edge over the Polo.

With regard to mileage, the Polo has ARAI-certified mileage of 17.22 kmpl for the 1.2 petrol, 22.07 kmpl for the 1.2 diesel and 15.26 kmpl for the 1.6 petrol. The Sail hatchback may come with a mileage in the range of 17 – 22 kmpl. Since the diesel version of Sail is expected to come with 1.3-litre Multijet motor which is known for fuel economy, it may have an advantage over the Polo 1.2 diesel.

The Sail may have an advantage in terms of price and mileage. It also offers slightly more space, thanks to its wider wheelbase. If the Sail gets adequate features, it may be slightly better ‘value for money’ than the Polo.

Pros and Cons

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Verdict

If you want German built quality, precise fit and finish, clean looks and great performance (1.6 petrol), go for the Polo. If you are particular about interior space, mileage and price do wait for the Sail hatchback. Chevrolet Sail may hit the showrooms in May 2012.